"Are you okay?" Since she was now doing the prison visits to her boyfriend, Maxine's daughter had abandoned the rainbow hair for a platinum blond look with dark roots. She saw me staring into the storage room, and came out of her apartment. "What is it, mice? You'd think that good-for-nothing cat would—" Her words trailed off in a gasp. She stood next to me, and stared.
"Close it! Close it! Lock the door. We've got to call the police." She kicked the door closed, and I locked it, and followed her back to her apartment. I was too shocked to say a word. Not that Hope would have heard me. "It's him." She said, pacing back and forth. "I told her she was crazy to let him stay there."
I went to Hope's phone, and pulled the fresh business card Gonick had given me out of my pocket. Groucho's cage had been installed in one corner of the small front room. He craned his white-masked green-feathered head sideways to fix me with a glare from beady black eyes. As I walked past to get to the phone, he spread iridescent green wings wide in alarm.
While I was talking to the man who answered the phone in Homicide, Groucho let loose a shriek so deafening that the man asked if I was in any immediate danger. "No, it's a somebody's pet macaw. But I do need to talk to Gonick, tell him it's about the ice axe."
Hope paced back and forth muttering to herself. I had never seen her so agitated. I wondered if Gonick had even had time to get down to Police Headquarters with Griff. After I hung up the phone I meditated briefly about my little talk with Gonick about searching Nina's apartment. I put a call in to the local lawyer Ambrose had suggested. I got her answering machine. I looked at my watch. It was 6:30.
"It's that slimy creature that's living with Mom," Hope said heatedly. "He's killed before you know."